Sanjhi Paintings

Sanjhi Art from Mathura, is a truly unique craft form that features exquisite designs and intricate picture motifs, cut into paper. Craftsmen use specially designed scissors to accomplish this process. Let’s take a look at the history and current state of this artform. Sanjhi art is the traditional art of stenciling from Mathura, Krishna’shometown. Known for its inherent spiritual implications that reach beyond immediate aesthetic appeal, it is considered to be one of the finest arts of spiritual expression. The art grew in the 16th and 17thcenturies, when the walls and floors of temples were decorated with Sanjhi motifs. The term Sanjhi is derived from the Hindi word sandhya, the period of dusk with which the art form is typically associated. To create a Sanjhi design, stencils are made on paper (mostly handmade) using specially designed scissors. These stencils are placed on flat surfaces or water, where the rangoli has to be drawn. Dry colors are then sifted onto the surface. Filling the colors and lifting the stencils are as critical as cutting the design. Peacocks, bullock carts, horses, cows, butterflies and trees are some of the common motifs used. The intricate craftsmanship reflects the artist’s devotion and the intimate love for the Blue God. To produce an elaborate Sanjhi design could take anywhere between an hour and a month.